We have snow. In April. I am going to have to go outside and shovel the sidewalk. In April. Even though snow is my favorite weather, it had the whole season of winter to show, and it didn’t. I live with two springophiles, and they’re sad at the loss of their favorite season, which makes it hard to enjoy this unexpected dose of mine, so this is an interesting conundrum. I may need to take a snow day.
For my fellow Sleepyheads, my recap of Sleepy Hollow‘s latest episode, “Delaware,” is up at Heroes and Heartbreakers. Man, this episode. Two particular Ichabbie scenes could count as love scenes -donuts and boat, for those who have seen- because the connection is that strong, and sure, and understated and all the more obvious for it. If this were a book, I would have sticky notes on those chapters, so I could see how they did it and learn to do it for myself. Still no word on whether the show will be renewed or not, so next week’s season (and hopefully not series) finale should be interesting, not to mention cause for great speculation. It is here, and it looks like this:
New member of the (notebook) family came home this weekend, when I saw this gorgeous specimen at Barnes and Noble, in the red dot clearance section:
I’ve always wanted to try an unlined Picadilly, and one of their larger notebooks, so when I saw this, and it announced it was my new art journal, (because notebooks talk to me; don’t they do that to everybody?) I fell in love with the creamy pages, and spent a rather blissful chunk of time at the kitchen counter, slapping down seemingly random things that were within easy reach, and I’m rather pleased with the results.
Though I don’t remember who actually said this particular gem, I want to say it was in an issue of Art Journaling magazine. In every issue, multiple contributors are asked the same question about their creative process. That’s probably my favorite feature, as I love finding out how different people do the same thing. In one issue, I want to say the question was something like, how to get started when ideas aren’t coming.
One answer stuck with me. “When you don’t know what to draw, draw shapes.” I am fairly certain I’m paraphrasing here, and probably need to go back and find the actual quote and artist’s name, because that had a big hand in getting me out of a creative funk. Draw shapes. Well, that’s easy. Anybody can draw shapes. So, today, when I sat down with a two page blank spread in front of me, that’s what came to mind. I stuck down a piece of scrapbook paper, tried out some long-neglected stamps, with a longer-neglected ink pad (that pad has earned all the RIPs in the image) and then…nothing. Which is where the shapes came into play.
I grabbed an old stencil that was, apparently, made by IBM, for…IBM-related something, I imagine; my dad probably bought it for art use, and now it’s mine…and started tracing shapes. Then I filled them in with an old #2 pencil, which I’d found in the same box of stuff. I didn’t think, didn’t plan, only let one shape flow into the next one, my mind drifting along with the music, picking out the stories from the songs, the snapshots of emotion captured in sound, and that told me where to go next. When I got to the point of “done” with shapes, I looked at the blank space for a while. It needed a figure. I grabbed a stack of pages torn from old magazines, cut out the first one I saw, glued it down, added some shade, then sat back.
Words. I needed words on that page, but didn’t want to overthink it. What ended up going on the page were the lyrics that played at that exact moment. It worked. Done. I liked the whole process a lot, and will probably do that again, because it gets my creative brain in gear. So, what does that have to do with writing? Other than inspiration, that is, because there was definitely that.
It’s the blank page. It’s the shapes. It’s knowing that I know how to do this. Once there is a shape on the page, once there is a splash of color, or even a single mark, the page isn’t blank anymore. The first step will invite the next one, which will make the page an entirely different thing from that, and once I get in the groove, it’s easier to keep going than it is to stop. It’s trusting myself and knowing that what works for me, works for me. It’s feeling the doubt and going ahead anyway, because otherwise, what else is there to do but stare at a bank page? Put something down. Anything. Fix it later. Add to it later. Cover it later. Rip it out later, if you want, but put it down there. Use a template if you need. Go freehand if you want, but start. Make your mark. Draw a shape. Write a word. I dare you.